Friday, October 24, 2014

The essential ingredient...

I took time to carefully measure out the ingredients and mix them together into a smooth dough. I felt warmed by the notion that I was doing something  special for my family. Then I rolled up the little balls in the palm of my hand and carefully placed them on the baking tray.  After gently flattening them, I gingerly pressed out tiny indentations into the flattened, soft dough. These would be the troughs for the drops of jam each of them needed. I placed the tray in the pre-heated oven and breathed a sigh of satisfaction.  Then I set the timer and waited...

  Soon the house was filled with that homely aroma of freshly baked "yummies". I was sure that my family would devour them - the perfect complement to a companionable "cuppa".

When the timer buzzed, I reached for my oven gloves and opened the oven. 

My heart sank...

Instead of beautifully light, puffed up cookies, they looked hard and flat. 
I'd left out the essential ingredient! Baking powder.  
Oh dear :(

As the creator of these cookies, I must admit, I was really disappointed. 


But it got me thinking...


How many of us have left out the essential ingredient in our own lives?
How many of us, who have been perfectly created, choose to live flat lives with hardened hearts?
How many of us feel incomplete?
Couldn't life be so much better?

Now imagine our own Creator - God - looking down and seeing this?
Imagine his heart  when He sees the gift he so freely offers...rejected, forgotten...

Perhaps it's time for some of us, today, to become part of the abundant life that our precious Lord, Jesus Christ offers in His Kingdom.

It's your choice.

"I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."
(Jn 10:10)

(Above: Lilac-breasted roller: Kruger National Park, Sept 2014)

Dear Father God, 
Thank you for giving us the choice of receiving an abundant life, in You.  
Forgive us for any doubt that we ever entertained. 
 Help us to lead this life in the way that You would like us to live it.
Help us to be a creation in which You take joy. 
In Jesus' name, Amen.


Sending lots of love to all my friends around the world.
May God bless you as you consider His Kingdom.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Put your Hope in the Living God...

It is impossible to deny the Living God.
No matter how hard you might try,
 it is impossible!

 God reveals Himself to us in so many ways: 
 through Nature:

"The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of His hands."
(Ps 19:1)

He reveals Himself to us through God-breathed Scripture:

"This is my blood of the covenant, 
which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins."
(Matt 26:28)

He reveals Himself to us in our own design... 
(we are innately Spiritual creatures  and created to worship Him)

 He reveals Himself to us in History, in Miracles, and especially through the hope of the Cross and it's meaning.

If we are willing to accept  Jesus Christ into our lives, and allow the Lord to work in us, we encounter a loving, living God in all Fatherly forms.  As His children, he loves us, disciplines us, teaches us, guides us, protects us and interacts with us all the time. He places hope in our hearts and the desire to reach out to others. We are filled with the knowledge that God is in control, He's "Got it" and we merely need to rest in this knowledge and obey His teachings. 

I believe that the imperfections of this world are clearly designed in order for us to reach out to our Living God; to declare Him our Lord and Saviour, and to acknowledge our dependence on Him as He guides us along His path to Salvation.

Rest assured, God is alive and working in this world... His Holy Spirit is ever-present is in those who believe in Him. 
And for those who don't...

He's waiting with open arms...?
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I wil give you rest."
(Matt 11:28)

"Dear Lord, thank you for offering us  your precious gift of Salvation, through no deeds of our own. Thank you that through the sacrifice of your son, Jesus Christ, we can come into your presence and learn to live this life. Thank you for loving us and never leaving us. What a blessing it is that we are able to reach out to you any time, any day, any hour, any circumstances, and that you will welcome us as we are. We love you, Lord. Amen"

Monday, October 20, 2014

He knows each of us intimately...

A few days ago, I made a promise to my daughter to help her out. She is a young professional who cannot take off time from work.  As a home-maker, however, my own days are flexible.  Her request was simple.  It required that I set aside a morning and drive to the municipal offices of our sister city to open up a Municipal services account for their newly purchased home.

Although this is a simple task, it becomes rather complicated for me personally.  My anxiety condition plays up seriously in situations like this. I battle in unfamiliar environments and then, out of irrational fear, struggle to drive. In this case, I was so scared that I battled to sleep last night.  I know that my fear is irrational, but there was no way that I was going to renege on my promise to my beautiful daughter.  As a human being, I need and want to be helpful. Somehow, I would muster up the resolve to tackle this small, important task. 

When I opened up my bible this morning, I was drawn to the story in the gospel of John where Jesus’s disciples were on a boat when their own storm built up. (Jn 6:16-21):

“A strong wind was blowing and the waters grew rough. When they had rowed three or three and a half miles, they saw Jesus approaching the boat, walking on the water, and they were terrified.  But he said to them, “It is I; don’t be afraid.”

It’s a beautiful story of connection with our Master when things become scary. So, this morning, I thought I’d take God at His word and try to apply this teaching to my own situation. In the solitude of my kitchen prayed out loud,

“Please Father, would you help me overcome my fear and help me through this task.

Soon I was on the road:

I managed the 60km drive without incident. I found the place easily.  Although I wasn’t sure where exactly the place was, there were friendly people to guide me at every turn. When I finally found the offices, the person attending to me was extremely helpful too. It was her first day on the job and I was her first customer.  It was as if she had been specifically chosen to be there for this particular situation.

My heart skipped a beat when I discovered that I would require a second set of signed documents. I only had one. This would require yet another trip to the same offices on yet another day.  “Please, Lord, help me.” I smiled and asked her if there was any way she could help me…?

She did. She stopped and went around to the back to consult her manager. She was soon back to indicate that they’d made a plan for me and would use the documents I had already supplied.  “Thank you, Father!”

In the end, the account was opened successfully and my trip home was without incident too.  It wasn’t long before I was back in my own ‘safe’ surroundings. Task completed!

Thank you, Lord, that I can call on you anytime, any day, any hour, with any aspect of my life – even the smallest of them all.  Thank you that your promises never fail - that you will always be there for me, no matter what. Amen.”

May God bless you today as you walk with Him.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

A prayer for my readers

Dear Father God

This morning, on Your day, I humbly ask for a blessing on this blog and all who read it.
Father, please allow, through your Holy Spirit, that Your will,Your way and Your love permeate through this blog. I pray that the eyes of the hearts of my readers may be enlightened in order that they may know the hope to which You call them, the riches of Your glorious inheritance and Your incomparable great power to those of us who believe.

Father, please would you be with those who suffer and who struggle today; whether it is a physical hurdle or an emotional one.  I know that there are so many of my friends who are in pain of one sort or another, and I ask that Your love and healing may rest on them in a really profound way. 

Thank you, Lord Jesus, for this blog and for my cyber friends world-wide.  I ask you to protect this Holy space and to allow my readers to experience Your incredible love through Christ Jesus.


(This is the day that the Lord has made.  Let us rejoice and be glad in it.)

Thursday, October 16, 2014

A new beginning...the gift we are all offered.

In the silence of the night, a miracle waits to happen...

There is a moment, every 24 hours, when in the blink of an eye, everything on the earth is transformed.  Usually, we are all still asleep...

In the changing light, the moment arrives - transfixed in time - waiting for an audience.  Nature holds its collective breath, then stretches and snores again.  In the silence, the temperature drops and the world is seemingly frozen.  The old is about to pass and a new beginning waits. It becomes a highlighted question which, in this moment, is imprinted on all creation:  Will the world continue? Will the sun rise?

This beautiful moment, just before each dawn, is drenched in silence; fraught in anticipation. Yet, we sleep while it's happening; hoping to become restored and prepared for what awaits in the day ahead.  The world waits too. The birds begin to sing.

And then the moment happens - the amazing miracle which affects our lives every 24 hours... 

It's called "breaking dawn".  It's here when a new day cuts into the darkened, heavenly expanse and drizzles over the ready earth.  Streaks of beautiful, bright light paint the landscape. Crystalline, shining rays infiltrate everything.  All the hope of humanity and the new day is caught up in this brief and precious moment.

The silence is broken.  Different voices unite; There are twitterings and coo's. Then the birds sing louder...then more...then more.  From the ends of our human consciousness we may indeed be slightly aware of the singing: different voices, unique expressions; a cacophony of birdsong and praise. The sun is imminent. Everything in creation welcomes in the new day. Man, however, mostly sleeps..and misses the marvel.

Then the drone of the busy city begins. Rush hour: a quick good-bye to a loved-one to face the business of the day. More stress, gray hairs, unhindered emotions. In equal measure, human activity blots out God's beautiful sounds.  His promise of a brand new day and new beginning becomes obscured.  Hidden.  Forgotten!

They say that if you live with something constantly, you don't see the small changes.  They are merely absorbed; taken for granted...

But each day, there is something subtly different in the marvel of God's beautiful dawn. His plans prevail amidst the human chaos. Unnoticed, the sun follows a slightly different path in the heavens each day.  The temperature on the earth's surface, the light and the climate are all slightly altered...tweaked.  We are older, sometimes wiser, sometimes more stupid. Often unimpressed. The contrast is painful.

Then the beautiful gift of the dawn fades. Passes. Unnoticed.  As we drown our hearts in the volume of our humanly designed lives, our souls plead, "Where is God?".  But, it's us who don't understand.  Don't you see? During all this activity,our Master waits - patiently, lovingly.  He hopes with all hope that we will indeed search for Him; respond to His call and wash ourselves in His beauty, His glory, His story, His gift.

He's been there all the time...just look!

Praise, Honour and Glory to my amazing Father!

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."
(John 3:16 NIV)

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Put on the full armour of God!

As part of our year at Bible School, we are required to submit short essays on a number of topics.  Today, I thought I'd share one of my essays with you. I hope it blesses you and gives you strength in your walk with the Lord.  Please feel free to comment or to give me feedback.


MSB ESSAY: EPHESIANS:  Chapter 6:10-18

Using Ephesians Chapter 6, list and describe the Armour of God.  What is the nature of our warfare?  How can we as believers implement this protection?
In the beginning of his letter to the Ephesians, Paul describes an amazing and accessible world, in Christ. 

In love, he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ” (1:5
Christians are “purposed in Christ” to bring all things on earth together, under one head…" (1:9-10).
God has chosen us for the praise of His glory (1:14). 

To be part of this Christian family is our sole purpose on earth. 

This task, however, is not an easy one; we are expected to withstand incredible pressures and to stand up against everything the earthly world throws at us. Paul sets the scene about the ‘war’ which we are fighting and describes it:

"We are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed" (2 Corinthians 4:8-9).

In other words, although the battle is big, there is hope for us.  In Ephesians 6:12, we read about our adversary - Satan the devil - and his many, constant and conniving plans that are aimed at obliterating the children of God. Satan’s attacks come in many disguises. But all is not lost; we have a Divine and unbeatable defense: the Armour of God. In Ephesians 6:13, Paul calls us to take up these armaments. By putting on all of God's Spiritual Armour, we can be assured of withstanding our enemy's onslaughts.

1. The Belt of Truth
This enables us to combat lies; particularly lies which sound like the truth.
2. The Breastplate of Righteousess
This enables us to ward off Satan's attacks on our emotions (heart), self-worth and trust.  Jesus's death has made us righteous in God's eyes.  We are tasked to protect this gift.
3.  The Footgear, in readiness to spread the Word.
This protects our motivation to proclaim the Good News and God's Truth.
4.  The Shield of Faith.
This allows us to guard against insults, setbacks and temptations.  It gives us the ability to see beyond the things of this earth and adopt an eternal outlook.
5.  The Helmet of Salvation
The helmet protects our minds from doubt as Satan tries to convince us about the non-reality of God, Jesus and our personal salvation.
6.  The Sword
This represents the Holy Spirit and the Word of God.  It is the only weapon of 'offence'; to follow the lead of the Holy Spirit and to resist temptation.

This particular passage (Eph 6: 10-18) was written by Paul, in Rome, during his two-year incarceration, possibly in the early first century.  During this time, he wrote a number of letters/epistles to various communities (Ephesians, Colossians, Philippians and Philemon.)

Prior to this, Paul's life had turned from 'persecutor of Jews' (prior to his conversion) to being heavily persecuted as he went about establishing the early Christian church.  During his life he was accused of many things.  He was beaten, arrested, almost assassinated, shipwrecked and placed under house arrest. Yet, he persevered.

Humanity might consider these incidents simply 'bad luck', but Paul recognised it as part of his job description in Christ.  His experiences made him fully equipped to give advice about these battles.

We can imagine the setting:  Paul, in a Roman prison, constantly surrounded and taunted by Roman soldiers and their compatriots.  But he continued to work for God (by writing and talking openly) despite being constantly under threat.  He must have got to know those Roman soldiers very well, and gradually over time the analogy of the 'Armour' would begin to develop.  Just as the Roman soldiers required physical armour to fight their wars and protect themselves, we Christians require spiritual armour to protect ourselves and fight our fight for God.

It is a profound piece of writing which is still applicable to all of us as Christ's followers today.

So let us all put on the full Armour of God and collectively stand together in this Divine war. 

Life Application Bible (NIV)

“Taking up the whole armour of God”: